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NASA Announces Project for Drilling on Europa’s Crust
NASA has announced an interesting project to drill Europa’s Crust and one of the aims of the project is to search for possibility of life. Jupiter’s icy moon Europa is considered as a candidate for search for life in solar system. Astronomers have earlier talked about possibilities of finding life on Europa. The mission has been planned for year 2024. The details of Europa Lander Mission have been shared by NASA in 264-page report. The mission has not been confirmed yet.
Scientific community is concerned about budget cuts on NASA. It is still not known what is under the surface of Europe as no other mission has landed on its surface. The abundance of water on Europa increases the possibility of simple or complex life forms on the moon of Jupiter. Jupiter has strong magnetic field and this could be a major issue for mission team to develop better shielding for mission and its lander to deal with magnetic interference.
NASA and the European Space Agency will also launch a flyby mission of Europa for year 2022. This can provide valuable data for NASA engineers for their Europa Lander Mission.
The NASA report informed, “Europa may hold the clues to one of NASA’s long standing goals – to determine whether or not we are alone in the universe. The highest-level science goal of the mission presented here is to search for evidence of life on Europa.”
Among other mission objectives are to assess the habitability of Europa by directly analyzing material from the surface, and to characterize the surface and subsurface to support future robotic exploration of Europa and its ocean.
SDT member Jonathan Lunine said, "Europa provisionally is a great place to go. It has a very large amount of rocks, it’s got a lot of heat [at its core], so at the base of the oceans there are undoubtedly hydrothermal systems. Everything we know about it makes this a good [place] to look for life."